Saturday, September 18, 2010

A Sigh of Relief

One solid week. It wasn't a bad week, just a very unexpectedly strange week. I knew that I would miss Albania, but I had no clue that I'd be homesick for Albania. Homesickness quietly sneaked in last week, I think after pub night at the Canadian Embassy. It naturally made me think of my two Canadian friends. Four of us went out, after pub night for the first Friday night down-town. It was a very fun night, discovering an artsy restaurant that was serving free champagne, but it did cause me to remember Fridays past, out with a group, laughing our way through Tirana. This, I suppose, was the trigger. All week, I was missing my friends, the students, the parents, the swim team, everything good about Albania. And then there was the dull ache and the nagging question, "Why did I come here? I was happy in Tirana, why did I leave my friends?" This place, I feel confident, is the next step and it is an answered prayer in many ways: A larger school, an excellent team to collaborate with (we had our first team meeting on Thursday!), a pool (though it's only 13.1 meters long), public transportation, culture, and (gulp) seasons (actually, it's raining now!). The question "why" was answered, but it didn't cure me. What did?

This morning, Tracey Skyped me. To hear from someone else missing Tirana was actually a breath of fresh air. We were able to laugh about what was bothering both of us. Then, I emailed a family from TIS who I want to visit in Vienna over October break. While on Facebook, another mom from school started chatting with me. She was so encouraging and told me that I was gone, but not forgotten (and truly missed. I would have had her daughter, this year, if I had stayed). The homesickness began lifting.

This afternoon was the school picnic. I had volunteered to help Rachel with face painting, because I thought that it would be a fun diversion. While in the middle of painting a butterfly, I looked around at all the families gathered, the parents who were coming up to say hello, my students who were hugging me, teachers who are becoming my friends and I breathed a sigh of relief. It's gone. The homesickness. Oh, I'm sure it will surface every now and again, but I'm home now. I'm ready to embrace this new community, to invest my life here and not to pine for the past.